Not bad for a quick dip
Published/Last edited or updated: 1st February, 2016
If you’re tired of saltwater and wouldn’t mind a splash in the cooler water that runs down from Khanom’s mountain slopes, any of three small waterfalls could be worth a side trip. While Hin Lat, Samet Chun and Tha Noi are all little more than glorified streams, none are too difficult to reach and all will do the trick for a refreshing dip.
Hin Lat Waterfall
Located at the end of a side lane that cuts inland from the main road through Haad Nai Phlao, Hin Lat attracts quite a few locals in the late afternoons. Water rushes over a few short notches, but the centrepiece is a deep natural pool that’s wider than most hotel swimming pools. Roads run directly to the falls from two directions; quite a bit of visible concrete and motorised traffic driving right next to the pool detracts from the serenity.
Passing humble stilted houses, rubber trees and fruit groves, the quick ride to Hin Lat from Nai Phlao is a scenic one. From Nai Plao Bay Resort, take the main road as it cuts inland and then look for a road cutting right (east) not far after a blue sign for Hin Lat Waterfall and the Baan Nai Phlao School. From there it’s a two-kilometre ride to the falls. Hin Lat makes for an easy side trip while cruising the coastal road to Ao Thong Yee.
Samet Chun Waterfall
Our favourite of the three minor waterfalls in Khanom, Samet Chun (also spelt Samed) is located a short walk from a dirt road that sees few local or foreign visitors. A swim-worthy pool greets you beside the road, but the natural falls are found a few hundred metres further into the forest. Water gushes in short bursts between immense boulders and snake-like tree roots under a tall canopy. This is a fine choice if you prefer an easy jungle hike with your swim.
To reach Samet Chun from Haad Nadan, head south along the beach road and then cut right (inland) rather than left to Nai Phlao. After about three kilometres, look for a blue street sign on the left that says “Soi Khuankloy”; directly below that is an easy-to-miss wooden sign for the waterfall. Take a sharp left here and keep going for a few more kilometres. Soon after the road turns to gravel, you’ll see the human-made waterfall on the left. The trail to the natural falls begins just to the right of the human-made falls, adjacent to a derelict bathroom building.
Tha Noi Waterfall
Tiny Tha Noi is situated just beyond some rubber groves off Route 4014, around 12 kilometres west of the coast near Khao Dat Fa. The road runs straight to a small but atmospheric pool next to a boulder where you can dangle your feet and soak in the tropical scenery. Splash a bit further upstream and you’ll find the actual “falls,” where water bubbles over a cluster of rocks. Expect to meet some locals here on weekends and holidays.
Heading southwest out of Khanom town on Route 4041, the turnoff for Tha Noi Waterfall sneaks up on the left just after a PTT petrol station. A small brown sign says the name of the waterfall, and there’s a blue street sign for “Namtokthanoi 5”. After taking this turn, a couple of blue signs point the way straight to the waterfall. While it’s probably not worth going out of your way for, Tha Noi can provide a refreshing break if you’re heading in the Sichon direction.
If you seek a more serious waterfall adventure, head 40 kilometres south from Khanom town to Thong Yang, or 100 kilometres southwest to Krung Ching.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.